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Minnesota National Guard
Canadian seasoning

ST CLOUD, Minn " At the 11th hour Wednesday, Nov 11, the team conducted a small ceremony with a flag at half-mast, a poem reading, and some words from the chaplain After that followed a moment of silence, as is customary on Remembrance Day in Canada After that, it was back to flying

Fourteen members from the Canadian Forces are visiting Minnesota for two weeks to train on Minnesota National Guard's CH-47 Chinook helicopters, in a program designed to keep Canadian flight crews sharp and ready for deployment

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Because the Chinooks owned by Canada are all in theater, Canadian flight crews must come to the US for training

"The opportunity to work here and train with the United States is greatly appreciated for us," said Capt Jay Walker, a pilot with the Canadian Forces who has had one deployment to Afghanistan already "It's certainly essential to our success over there and keeping our skills up"

The 14 Canadian Forces come from Canada's 1st Wing, a brigade-level element which is headquartered in Kingston, Ontario

The team of Canadians consists of five pilots, four flight engineers, and five avionics mechanics Pilots will get at least 12 hours of flying apiece and will perform tactical flights and simulated missions over the two weeks, with night operations the second week The team will travel to several locations for training, including the US Army Aviation Center in Fort Rucker, Ala, and mountain flying in Colorado

"Most of the pilots are seasoned aviators; they've been flying other airframes They have a very good air sense about them," said Maj Mike Barker, supervisor of flight instructors for the training

"It's been a good experience for all of us," said Barker

By Spc Thomas Keeler
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
13 Nov, 2009

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